BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-007509
  • Unexpected outcome (positive or negative) including adverse drug reactions

Ulcerative colitis associated with the herbal weight loss supplement Hydroxycut

  1. Peter Lunniss
  1. Department of General Surgery, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Vernon Sivarajah, vernonsivarajah{at}


A 25-year-old Iranian gentleman was admitted to hospital with severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pain. He had similar episodes in the past. On each occasion his symptoms developed following the consumption of the herbal weight loss supplement Hydroxycut Hardcore X. On this admission, a (CT) scan demonstrated bowel wall thickening and peri-colonic fat stranding in the sigmoid colon. On flexible sigmoidoscopy, a continuous length of congested mucosa with multiple small ulcers was seen extending up to the mid-transverse colon, in keeping with ulcerative colitis. Histological analysis of biopsies was taken at the time and confirmed this. He was started on steroids early during his admission but this only provided a transient clinical improvement. The addition of cyclosporine, which was later changed to azathioprine, did not improve his condition either. He therefore underwent an open subtotal colectomy with end ileostomy. He made a slow but steady recovery and was discharged 3 weeks later.

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